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Aug. 1 2022 08:01 AM

Abby Bauer
Advice can be a tricky thing. Opinions and recommendations may be offered with the best of intentions, but the person on the receiving end could interpret the sentiments differently. The best advice often comes from people who have a way with words, a good rapport with people, and experience to back up their suggestions.

The founder of our publishing company was William Dempster (W.D.) Hoard, a man considered by many to be the father of Wisconsin’s dairy industry. Originally from New York, Hoard moved to the Badger State as a young man. In 1870, he established a weekly newspaper, the Jefferson County Union. In this paper, he wrote a column about dairy farming, a topic of interest for him that stemmed from years of working on a farm as a child.

His insight was sought by people far and wide, many who bought the newspaper simply to read his dairy advice. With the encouragement of a few friends, he launched Hoard’s Dairyman, a national dairy farm magazine, in 1885.

Through the pages of Hoard’s Dairyman, Hoard shared his knowledge and wisdom, about dairy cattle of course, but also about farming in general. Although these words appeared in print more than a century ago, many of his quotes were timeless or foreshadowed what was to come.

Hoard’s expertise and foresight spanned beyond the cow and connected all areas of the farm. It is no surprise that this dairyman, writer, and leader (who eventually served as the state’s governor) understood the importance of healthy soil and the usefulness of manure, and he often wrote about this in the magazine. In this quote, he promoted the need for productive farm fields:

“Here are the three cardinal principles of dairy farming — good land, good crops, and good cows — but at the bottom lies good land and a farmer wise enough to keep it good.”

He went more in depth to address specifics on how farmers could maintain their land — and the financial ramifications if they didn’t — in quotes like this one:

“The dairy farmer must be honest with his soil, not rob it. He must be willing to give up a part of what the farm returns to him for the purchase of the necessary elements of fertility — nitrogen, phosphate, potash. He is not honest if he does not do this; neither is he getting rich if his soil is growing poorer.”

The publishing world has changed in the 137 years since Hoard printed his first magazine, but our commitment to bringing scientific research, real life examples, and words of wisdom to readers across the country and around the world remains intact. In this very issue, you will find two articles on how to improve soil, protect water quality, and grow additional feed using cover crops. There are several “how to” articles, from how to work with custom applicators and crop farmers to staying in compliance with regulations. There’s even a “what not to do” example when it comes to manure lagoon management. Our goal is to bring relevant information to your mailbox with each and every issue.

The world of nutrient management continues to grow and develop. We are now creating products with manure that farmers a century ago would have never dreamed of. But that doesn’t mean manure was any less beneficial. Hoard knew farmers needed to capture these nutrients, and he acknowledged this valued resource in this quote:

“Every good farmer feels that he could use three times the manure he is capable of producing. If he does not supply the necessary elements of fertility, the farm goes down.”

While most farms today would not be eager for three times more manure to store and process, the point that these nutrients serve a useful purpose can’t be denied. As we move forward, working to utilize nutrients and protect the land where we live and work, Hoard’s words of wisdom still ring true and serve as a sound reminder to make the most of this valuable resource.

Until next time,

Abby Bauer

This article appeared in the August 2022 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 4.

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